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Toxic MIL

(108 Posts)
MommyBird Sat 05-Oct-13 18:58:19

Im drainned.
i cant do it anymore and my husband feels the same. alot of things have happened and ive posted a few times looking for advice.

A family friend has had a word with my 82 year old nan as my mil had told this family friend im bulimic ( im not btw!) my poor nan and this friend was so worried, she rang my dad in a state who had a word with me..
Turns out my mil has been lying and making up things to everyone about me, her son and making out she is an amazing nan. she is not. she is awful. my husband is fuming.

I have told my husband i cannot do this anymore. ive had PND and anxiety, ive seen a counseller and been on anti d's. ive put with her for years. so much has happened and shes done so much. i dont really want to go into it.

She is supposed to be coming down next week. i cant be nice/calm to her face anymore. i dont want anything to do with her and i dont want my daughters (4+7 weeks) to be around her.
She brings nothing but stress and negativity into our lives.

I dont want to get this family friend into trouble and mil knowing she has told us what she's been saying.
We just want to tell her not to bother coming down.

Any advice on what to say would be really helpful. sorry if its so vauge or if it doesnt make much sense. im just drainned.
Thank you (:

Nora2012 Sat 05-Oct-13 19:07:11

I just came on to write a very similar post, so I have no words of advice but I give you all my sympathy as I'm right there with you. We're debating between moving further away cause at the moment PILs just pop in whenever they like with no prior arrangement no matter what time, who else is here to however much they're imposing, or me just flat out telling her exactly how she makes me feel. She also make up stories about DD never sleeping, always crying, being a "bad baby"! Complete nonsense. Feel free to rant about her though if it makes you feel better.

Ursula8 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:20:53

OP, just tell her you don't want any houseguests at the moment as you have a newborn. Then go as low contact as you can get away with, or no contact. Life is too short to put up with this kind of shit.
Do you worry that DH will backtrack when he has to face the music with MIL? You need to a be a strong team on this and DH has probably had a lifetime of being brainwashed into thinking MILS behaviour is acceptable and he should just put up with it or she will have some kind of major hissy fit.
Be prepared for her to become mysteriously ill or attention seeking if you have the balls to stand up to her. People like this are bullies and rely on steamrolling their way over others.
I wish you both luck.

MommyBird Sat 05-Oct-13 21:35:11

Ive never seen my husband so angry.
He is such a gentle man who hates arguing or any sign of confrontation, saying that he will not be backing down.
Things have been changing for a few months, he has been putting his foot down alot with her. she hasn't liked this at all and has been in a fair few sulks.
Obviously its all our fault.
I have been reading up on toxic parents and have warned my husband that will probley develop a serious illness over night.
Before dd2 was born my husband would pick her up and take her home once a week to see dd1. She would often cancel for various reasons..then moan she doesnf see her..
DD1 is now at nursery, husband has a promotion (more hours etc) and dd2 is born. he can no longer pick her up and drop her off due to his new hours.
So now its upto her. she hasnt seen
Dd1+2 for 7 weeks. her choice.
We live 15 mins away, they have a car and she catches buses daily. works part time. early 40s.

i will cancel next weeks visit and see what happends then.
She doesnt know that we know about the lies. just wish we could tell her. it will be all our fault otherwise. eurgh.

Jux Sat 05-Oct-13 22:36:02

She may have told others the same lies, so it could have got back to you by a completely different route, and not via your family friend.

Even if it does drop the friend in it, what's the worst that could happen as a result? MIL stops talking to her so no longer feeds her with lies?

Friend stops passing on the lies?

Friend stops seeing MIL?

MIL stops seeing friend?

I can't see what's bad about any of that, tbh.

Cancel next week, tell her why. Tell anyone who mentions it why.

maillotjaune Sat 05-Oct-13 22:40:33

You have my sympathy. My MIL has just arrived in the UK for her first visit since verbally abusing DH big style a few months ago and is currently pretending everything's ok. It's not and like your DH he is still upset / furious and taking no shit.

I have had enough - as I work part time it's usually me that spends more time with her and I have done that as a way of facilitating her relationship with the DCs.

I am now of the opinion that if she can treat her son in the way she has (not just this incident, long history) then I'm no longer prepared to go out of my way.

Sorry that turned into a rant about my MIL - I feel your pain. Don't let it go or it gives her carte blanche to continue.

MommyBird Sat 05-Oct-13 22:49:32

Family friend is a mobile beautician.
She comes to our house, mils inlaws/family which is where all this happened. so all of my fils side think im bullimic and she is this amazing grandma.
If i let on it's her who told us all of this she'll loose buisness and she'll be stuck in the middle.

Such a mess.

I was just thinking of cancelling the visit, she asks why, say 'you should be careful who you tell lies too'
..even though she'll probley deny all knowledge of even saying it. sigh

mandi73 Sat 05-Oct-13 23:04:09

Ring her and cancel, tell her you'e trying to cope with the sudden onset of Bulimia

Walkacrossthesand Sun 06-Oct-13 09:40:13

grin @ mandi - 'well, apparently I've got bulimia, it's a lot to get my head round seeing as I never vomit or anything, but there you are. Can't have visitors. '

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 10:26:02

HAHA! grin
If only i had the balls!

What hurts most is I had PND and Anxiety, i was ill and i lost alot of weigh due to the stress (which tbh she didnt help with!) , i was down to a size 6. i hated it.
So thats the reason i was very skinny.

She didnt care. ive allways felt like the oven thats carried dd1+2. nothing more.
She is allways ill. she is a hypocondriac (sp? Too early, no coffee yet!) and we all have to know about it.

ajandjjmum Sun 06-Oct-13 10:53:15

She's in her early 40s - you have to deal with this now, otherwise she could be having a negative impact on your life for the next 50 years.

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 12:53:41

What would you do?
I have no idea how to handle this..

If she was a fantastic woman who made the effort to see her granddchildren and they loved her, i would probley bite my tounge or just have as little contact as possible..but she isnt.
She brings nothing but stress into out lives. she is a very selfish poisonus woman and i dont want my girls around that.

I want to tell her that i know what shes been saying and have it out with her ( she is a lier, ive caught her out a few times!) i know she will deny saying it, somehow it'll be our fault, she wont talk to us for a few weeks, she'll ring up crying/moaning/'weve made her ill' and there will be no 'im sorry" or accept any responserbility.

Can you tell its happened before?

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 12:55:57

Also. i dont want to get this friend into trouble or get her caught up in the middle. she will loose buisness and that isn't fair.

Whocansay Sun 06-Oct-13 13:00:46

Just tell her it's no longer convenient for her to come and stay. Don't go into 'why'. You don't have to give her an explanation.

BillyBanter Sun 06-Oct-13 13:03:00

Don't contact her yourself. Let your DH handle her.

The reason isn't just this latest lie so he doesn't need to mention it specifically.

He can also contact people and put them straight.

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 13:10:02

She doesn't stay with us thank god
she only lives 20ish minites away so there's no need.

No this isnt the only thing she's done, its been going on for 5 years sad
This is just the latest thing and i cant do it anymore.

DH has texted her and canceled. Just said we're tok busy. just where to go from here.
I things was different.

Walkacrossthesand Sun 06-Oct-13 13:20:26

OP, I think I remember your previous thread - this was the MiL who wanted your DH to carry on picking her up for visits even after he changed jobs and it was no longer convenient - and would often cancel at the very last minute, after you had changed your family plans to accommodate a visit? Have you been tightening up your boundaries and maybe what you're getting now is her cranking up the unpleasantness pressure in response, to try to bring you back into line? Sounds like you and DH are doing a great job - all contact is on your terms and you don't put yourself out for her at all (she lost that privilege by abusing it); you calmly put people right if they report back what she's saying, and remind them that it's always a good idea to check out unlikely-sounding stories before believing them; take away her power to manipulate and control you.

nameimadeupjustnow Sun 06-Oct-13 13:24:06

Can you begin to cut all contact between you? For example, don't share the family friend/beautician who is spreading gossip about you. (She should have known to come to you, not your poor nan, with this gossip.) Cut off as much information about yourself as you can - don't talk about private matters with people you know will report back to her (however innocently). It won't stop her being vicious and toxic, but it will help somewhat.

You do not have to see her - ever. That's okay. You are an adult with your own family and your own home and you do not have to play host to people who bring you down. It's up to your DH how much he wants to see her, and he can do that on his own.

As for how much contact your DDs have with her, you can work that out with DH. Sounds like he'll be happy for none to happen, at least for now. You two can revisit that together whenever you like. Hopefully she will not become a wedge between you and DH.

She sounds an awful woman - good luck!

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 13:35:02

Yep that was me! Its gotten alot worse unfortunatley sad
i have absolutley why idea why she lies.
I kind of understand the lies about coming down alot
and spoiling the kids as this is what she wants to be or wants others to think she's such a good nan. when infact she's rubbish.
But saying in Bulimic?! hmm no idea.

Husband has allways deffended her in the early years as this is 'the way she is' but he has slowley realised what she's like and its not or normal.

RantNowReasonableLater Sun 06-Oct-13 13:39:30

Like Nora2012 I've been thinking of posting something similar and even name changed for the purpose, I've tried writing something three times and given up.

MIL had a five minute, drunken rant at my DH on Wednesday becuase...

... wait for it ...

... I have peaches on my all bran.

RantNowReasonableLater Sun 06-Oct-13 13:40:24

Sorry, clicked too soon, was going to add you have my huge sympathy. It's exhausting.

Meerka Sun 06-Oct-13 13:42:26

its actually very, very nice to hear that your DH is 100% on your side. Some people in your situation have partners who just roll over and let their mothers do anything to them and the rest of their family.

Can you sit down and plan a strategy with your DH, find out how much or little contact you want with her and then how to move contact to that level? Also plan how she might respond, what she might say / do and how best to tackle that? ( eg turning up on teh doorstep unnannounced; more lies to everyone else; being poisonous to your children)

There's a nice book, Toxic Parents, which has some hints on how to basically handle nasty conversations if she does that; it depends on staying calm, not getting defensive, and not getting drawn into a blame game but sticking to your points. Or im sure there's good stuff on the web that can help with phrasing.

I'm not sure there's any need at all to mention your beautician friend. Don't challenge her on the lies, it won't do anything. Simply work togehter to keep her at arms length from now on, be prepared for the 'woe is me, they are such ungrateful / bad people' and keep blandly neutral if she starts questioning / getting temperamental.

It does seem likely she'll suddenly develop health problems or something that just demands attention. You and your husband might have to be prepared for this and decide how to handle it. You can probably be involved to some degree while keeping a certain emotional distance, if you work together.

A united and prepared front with your DH is your strongest tool to handle her I think. Two pairs of gloved hands working in unision can keep a snake from biting, hopefully smile

Good luck, people like this are just awful. You deserve a non-drama filled, non-poisoned life. It will be hard work at first but as time goes on, it will get easier. No one finds change in other people easy, neither will you MIL, especially if you're not playing her game; but it will be better for you both, no matter how hard it is at first.

Meerka Sun 06-Oct-13 13:51:34

Why she lies? Becuase it's mock-concern for you hiding a rather vicious meanness and glee in other people's misfortune ... plus if you two are standing up to her at last, then she'll be being malicious under a superficial sugarcoating of concern. YOu lost weight and had PND? she's taking the events and putting the worst gloss she can on it. If she can get your mother and father and family upset, then all the better.

Not that she would ever in a million years admit it.

nameImadeup has a good point. Your beautician might be a friend but she shouldn't have carried the story to others, even if it was from real care and concern. It might be worth talking to her and very gently pointing out it caused trouble and distress. The only person she shoudl have talked about it to, is you. It will embarass her, but frankly, maybe she'll learn not to do it again. Or simply don't book her again.

MissFenella Sun 06-Oct-13 14:06:44

is it about making a show of being integral to your lives, to back up the top Grandma thing? ie. I am so close to them that only I know Mommybird has bulimia - no you won't have heard that but I am central to everything so I know, I am special.

Rantnowreasonablelater - peaaches? on your all bran?
I think you should send the idea to All bran and wait for them to add a pic of it to the packaging then totally trump your MIL's ass by showing her the packaging with "serving suggestion" on the front. Ha!

Mommybird - please have courage and faith that you are doing the right thing.

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 14:28:00

I would love to cut her off completley. from us, the kids. Everything. i wish she would just go away.
And then i feel guilty.
DH is her only son, the girls are her only grandchildren. DHs dad died when he was 15. The family arn't close. she has used 'im all you've got' and 'but im your mother' which REALLY pisses me off. as she IS his mother and needs reminding of that!!
She isn't all he has. He has me and his children along with my parents who treat him as a son and family who involve it. sometimes its like she thinks; he needs her, more than she needs him hmm

she expects alot. She has no respect.
She uses the words 'Mother/grandchildren/nan' alot. like they excuse her behaviour, she hasn't earned these titles, just expects them.

Sorry for that rant. ive made myself angry angry

i have no idea what goes on inside her head. honestly. she is just awful.
I dont think its a 'im special' thing. more of a 'im an evil witch. i have no respect for my DIL, i can get away with it as they won't stand upto me' thats what it feels like!

brettgirl2 Sun 06-Oct-13 14:42:59

Drop the guilt, she's in her early 40s and seriously needs to get a life and start taking responsibility.

I'm guessing you must be very young but if she's in her early 40s she needs to be working out how to be happy for the next 50 years. Maybe take up snowboarding or Internet dating or something? She's hardly in her dotage - surely there must be parents in your dc1's reception class the same age! !! I'm 36 and am one of the youngest grin .

She doesn't need you to look after her. She needs to act like a reasonable person.

BillyBanter Sun 06-Oct-13 14:47:09

Turn that around. All she has is one son and she is trashing that relationship, not you and not him. She's the one throwing it away.

You might be the ones to call time but it is her who has destroyed the relationship.

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 14:56:06

She has a husband. who defends her all the time, which i guess is for an easy life..
Im 24! So i guess im very young even though i feel about 90 thanks to my dds being nocturnal.
Mil had DH at 16. He is 25. She is still mentaly that age.

We had a phone call off Sfil about mil being very upset that he hadn't accepted her friend request on facebook. dh doesnt do facebook.
he had to log on fb; accept her, then text her to explain why he hadn't accepted.
All this happening whilst dd2 was about 2 weeks old and refused to come and see her as dh couldnt pick het up hmm

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 15:00:39

Im just ranting now.
Its just good to know its not us. it is her.
She has a fantatic way of turning it back round on us, its all our fault and she is allways the victim. its allways about her.

brettgirl2 Sun 06-Oct-13 15:06:43

maybe she should try for another baby then. ...
or maybe that's it and it isn't happening so is jealous and finding it hard to deal with.

nameimadeupjustnow Sun 06-Oct-13 15:35:40

You can cut her out. You do not have to keep up with a constant stream of guilt and vileness. You and DH can agree to have no contact with her for the next year, say, or 6 months, or 18 months, or whatever. Just put this issue away for a certain period of time, and say that no amount of phone calls, begging, threatening or guilting will change your minds for the set period. No discussions or backtracking until the 6 months is over (and this includes sudden-onset 'illnesses'). She has a DH, she has a support network. She no longer gets you, too.

After the set period ends, you and your DH can think again about this. But it should not be a constant drip-drip of evil into your life!

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 15:54:37

I know she was trying when she had just got married. (about 10 years ago i think?) and it didnt happen (not sure if this is true anymore what with everything that's happend.)
She has had a few 'scares' (again, true?) and she's told me she's too old now and doesn't wany anymore.
Once again, if any of the above is true, i have no clue.
I dont know if she is jealous.

She has allways had this 'attitude' my husband has allways just gone along with it as it was just him and he could ignore it, but now its effecting me, us, our family and our girls. he can't ignore it anymore.

She texted back 'ok' when he canceled.
im just not sure how long we can be 'busy' for.
I don't know what we can say, for her to accept we don't want to see her, or reasons why.
FIL will most likely ring DH about how upset she is about not seeing the children for how many weeks.
Would it be ok to say 'yeah well Mommybird was upset to find out she had bulimia and other bullshit things mom/mil has been saying about my family'
or is that giving her fuel? She'll deny it staright out.
I have no idea what to say. I had drama. Im rubbish with things like this!

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 15:56:19


Meerka Sun 06-Oct-13 16:06:42

early 40's? She's got a huuuuuge amount potentially in front of her * looks at her own unexpectedly soon-to-be-swelling tummy dryly as her husband paints the new baby-cradle*

If she wants to take it.

if she doesn't, its her responsibility. Not yours.

it must be a terribly difficult position for your husband and yourself, to be in a position where the best option is to keep her very much at arms length, and yes I can understand your guilt. But outside, clear eyes can see that this is a weopon she can use to manipulate you again. You're close to the situatoin, but this -is- what she's doing. I urge you to resist it!

Meerka Sun 06-Oct-13 16:06:59

btw, I'm 44 :D

BillyBanter Sun 06-Oct-13 16:07:44

First decide what you and dh want. Do you want no contact? Do you want it limited. Maybe to meeting on neutral ground once every two months and setting down ground rules. If she breaks them you leave without discussion? Or any other arrangement you deem fit.

Discuss that then you can email her saying her presence in your life is toxic and we are not willing to put up with it any more. Don't contact us or whatever.

brettgirl2 Sun 06-Oct-13 16:16:09

I think sometimes it is pretty powerful to accept things the way they are and work out how to make life bearable around this ifyswim? A friend of mine in the end with her insane mil just sent the kids round with dh every couple of weeks. She tried for ages to solve the problems, change mil but it wasn't happening. It also have mil something real to moan about to all and sundry wink .

If she's determined to become a sad old woman at 40 then that's up to her and it may not be a situation you are able to change

bigbrick Sun 06-Oct-13 16:23:00

Say she can't visit now. Once she has apologised for her lies and put it right with everyone she has told then you will think about being in contact with her.

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 16:25:17

Its a horrible position to be in.
Tbh. I think i'm more upset than he is. he is use to it and he's fed up. he was bought up by his nan who died when he was 18 sad so i dont think he has that bond. It doesnt seem like he has anyway.

Where as im so close to my mum. she is fabulous. i cant imagine her acting the way mil does and if she did it would break my heart. so because i feel like this, I expect him to feel like this as its his mom.
He honestly doesnt seem bothered. He was ready to tell her last night to 'f' off, he was more worried about getting family friend into trouble than cutting his mom off which is awful.

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 16:32:32

I dont want to seem like im using my children as a weapon, i genuinley dont want her near them, if she can lie to people about me whats saying she isnt going to do it with my girls. how can i trust her after this mess?

I like the idea of her saying sorry and putting things right with people she's told as she will have to own up that she's said it...then again how can i trust her to tell people that?
I didnt really trust what she said before, i certainly dont now.

AnandaTimeIn Sun 06-Oct-13 16:50:54

OMG, I'm well into my 50's and am horrified how your MIL is to you. All her own drama where you both get caught into the maelstrom...

I have a 22-year-old DS and wouldn't dream of being such a bitch treating him like this.

Yes, do get that Toxic Parents book (Susan Forward). You could also google it, there must be forums on it.

You are both so young, don't let this spill over into the next generation... (your DC).

Pilgit Sun 06-Oct-13 23:06:19

My wicked step mother (WSM) lies about the most ridiculous things. Apparently DH beats me up (news to me), she has had terminal cancer (had an amazing bout of remission) and heart problems - she has lied about more things than I can remember and over such a period of time. At first I would get agitated and try and put it all right so that everyone knew the truth but she is bloody convincing (and have you ever tried telling people you are not being beaten up by your husband - no one believes you!) and it takes far too much energy. Now I simply shrug it off. She will not change, she will not admit it and if people believe it her bile that is their choice. As hard as it is to do, you cannot change her you can only change your reaction to her - this is not to say you should be a doormat and let her get away with it but simply detach and maintain a distance. Don't engage with it unless it directly impacts you. To say anything about this incident would put your friend in an awful position. The only emotion I waste towards my WSM now is pity. Anything else is a waste of my time and energy.

MommyBird Sun 06-Oct-13 23:15:47

I dont want to get the friend into trouble. i understand she went about it in the wrong way even though her intension was good. im glad its all came out tbh.

Im just now worrying what to say, what reasons can we give to just 'change our mind' regarding coming to visit without getting our friend in the middle.

Just 'we dont want you to visit' and thats it?

Jux Mon 07-Oct-13 08:45:16

You don't need to give a reason. Just that it is no longer possible.


Get your H to tell her its no longer possible for her to visit and leave it at that.

If she is too difficult or toxic for you to deal with she is certainly too toxic for your children to have any sort of contact with.

Why is she this way - its not your fault she is like this, her own birth family did that lot of damage to her. She may well have some form of untreated personality disorder or other type of mental disorder.

Such toxic people never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.

I would not feel guilty about cutting out such an awful family member; you would not tolerate this from a friend. Family are no different.

FarOverTheRainbow Mon 07-Oct-13 09:27:56

I have no advice but I know what it's like to have a toxic MIL. All I can say is please make your your DH is on the same page as you and decide together. My XP wasnt and his mother has split our family up and im devastated. Hope you work something out

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 10:01:26

I wouldn't accept this from anyone, i have no idea why i think its ok to take it from her, i think its because his mom. i feel i need to put up with it.

Ive told DH that he can pop up to see her whenever he wants, im not bullying him into him cutting contact with her. no matter how vile she is, she is still his mom. i get that.
Although i dont think he will bother with her anymore.

When DD1 was a baby, we used to take her to see MIL. We use to leave her with her for a short while whilst we did food shopping. made it clear, no smoking. she agreed.
She lied. made my baby ill (not seriously ill, had a few problems with her eyes) this is when i had PND and anxiety.
we was fuming. she told us 'not to bother bringing her up then' never said sorry or accepted it was her. (nobody else smokes!) my pnd and anxity went through the roof, had to go on stronger ani ds.
A week passed and she texted that she's made herself ill thinking we was going to ban her from seeing DD.
Never said sorry to this day or accepted responserbility.

We was very stupid and niave. This is when dh started picking her up to come to our house.
Writing this out i can see how toxic she is and im not sure why i feel guilty or want to spare her feelings.

Meerka Mon 07-Oct-13 10:05:41

We are conditioned to be polite and to give reasons for things. It seems rude not to. However, the woman -is- toxic. Anything you say will be twisted and turned against you.

While it must go very much agasint the grain, in this rare case, I'm not sure you need or should give a reason. Like you say, better to say "we don't want you to visit". Or simply be 'busy' all the time - and don't let her in if she turns up on the doorstep. Either way you're likely to be in for more rumourmongering, you'll be the best one to guess which option is likely to cause less trouble. But it's essential you and your husband are working very closely on the same page, or she can use any lack of communication or slight disagreement to create a wedge and trouble.

agreed with the others, she is not going to be a good influence on you children :/

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 10:36:11

I think you're right.
She doesnt deserve an explanation really does she? She will just turn in back onto us and it'll be our fault.

She can spread rumors, I dont mind. I dont have to deal with her anymore, im sure we will get messages from family memebers and i will set them straight.

I have told my husband to read this thread when he comes home from work.
I want him to see all the comments and advice from people, just to prove it IS her and its not us.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 10:37:55

Also Thank you everyone for your advice. It really means alot. for years i thought it was all my head due to depression. im very happy to know im normal and she isnt grin

Meerka Mon 07-Oct-13 11:16:06

People who play these games are horribly insidious - especially if you come from a normal family and don't realise what's going on for a very long time, or how to stand strong against it once you do.

Sometimes toxic people come from terrible background and these are the only ways they've found to get what they want. But unless they're willing to stop playing these games, they're terribly and subtly destructive to everyone around. Sometimes they're just willingly nasty :s

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 12:03:23

She doesnt really have much to do with 'her' side of the family, she has brothers/sisters/nieces etc.
she has told me various reasons why, its their fault. obviously
i believed her for many years, ive been aware for the last year or so she does lie..little.lies..she canceled once due to being ill..turns out she was hungover.
Things like that. ive nodddd and smiled for years.
Never thought she was that malicious though.

i can't/don't beleive anything she says anymore now.
So im not sure what her life/family was like before i met DH.

EldritchCleavage Mon 07-Oct-13 12:19:33

She sounds incredibly messed up. And sadly, it is very unlikely that she will see the light and change. So having much less to do with her is your best option.

If your DH himself is not bothered, then there isn't much reason to see her. Don't let any family members guilt you into contact or making up with her: people can be very good at doing that when they aren't the ones who have to put up with the endless nasty drama.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 13:01:56

Ive accepted she'll never change.
That was my problem. I allways thought she would.

I'd allways think if she chose the day to see dd1 she wouldn't cancel, if she chose the day/time she wouldnt cancel...which is why we changed our plans to suit her i just wanted her to see them. silly really
Nothing worked.

Even when i pregnant with dd2. I was overdue, slow labour and contractions would stop and start, seeing the midwife alot etc.
She could then only come down on a saturday/sunday,( cause she could a lift and didnt have to make any effort!)
i'd see the midwife on a friday and my contractions would allways kick in after a sweep i had 2. Manualy stretched my cervix. ouch! so didnt want visitors. we said she could allways come down during the week.
She didnt. She texted dh and told him to let her know when we can squeeze her in as we havnt got the time for her lately. (something along those lines) hmm
no consideration for us.

So yes. she'll never change sad
im willing to give up now.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 19:19:15

Just an update.

MIL has contacted DH to let him know she's been to the doctors today and her blood tests have come back positive for something to do with her brain wasnt really paying attention or somthing or other and she's got to have more tests.

I was expecting it as it as ive been warned about it but now i feel awful to just ignore her or keep on that we're busy.
I think im going to get him to mention about the 'bulimia' sad
i know she's done it to gain control because we've kept her at arms length for the past 2ish weeks.

I just dont know what to do.

totallydone Mon 07-Oct-13 19:35:07

IT's part of the script--a way to reel you and your DH back in. I would bet a pound to a penny there is not much wrong with her.

totallydone Mon 07-Oct-13 19:36:20

Oh and blood tests can't show something wrong with her brain,

Oceansurf Mon 07-Oct-13 19:38:12

She's only in her early 40's??? Jeezzz. I"m in my early 40's and dealing with my own toxic MIL. I thought it was to do with her being a batty 60!

She's far too young to be causing such stress to you..I'm guessing you're in your 20's?

A sudden illness is another tactic employed by the toxic parent. It is indeed a power and control move designed to bring you back in.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 19:40:26

Me too.
But i know we'll be evil ones if we cut contact now.
Im sick of this. she said it could be the side effects to some tablets she's on.

I dont know if we should mention that we know about the lies. we will have a valid / latest reason.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 19:43:37

And im 24 smile

Oh really? Blood tests cant detect somthing to do with the brain?
So more lies?

Oceansurf Mon 07-Oct-13 19:51:50

Cut her off. I haven't spoken to mine for 2 months and feel soo much better. (problem still isn't sorted mind you, but it's given me some breathing space)

Walkacrossthesand Mon 07-Oct-13 19:52:38

She won't gain control if you don't react. 'Oh, sorry to hear that miL. Hope you're feeling better soon' . Then back to your own lives. Don't feel bad - recognise this as a script playing out, feel strong and brace yourself for the badmouthing to others that will be the next thing. Perhaps think of some likely scenarios and prepare responses - stay one step ahead.

DameFanny Mon 07-Oct-13 19:52:45

You need both "Toxic Parents" and "Toxic In laws" - both by Susan Forward - for you and DH.

They all do the "oh the blood test shows I need more tests" thing when they want attention. Mine had DH worked up about a test she was having for something genetic that he also had minor symptoms for. Months to get the results - because she wasn't genuinely at risk she went private - and when it was negative SHE DIDN'T EVEN BLOODY TELL HIM she - and he - were in the clear. angry

Mil, for example, is a cunt.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 20:03:07

Shes had a blood test and it shows shes got too much chemical on the brain hmm it could be down to some tablets.

Ive just tried to find somthing on google about what it could be and i cant find anything. i'd hate to think she's lying about this.

why cant i have a normal woman as a mil!?

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 20:06:27

My husband hasnt replied to her.
im expecting a phone call from fil tomorrow.

Do we explain that we know what shes been saying? or just 'oh dear, hope you're feeling better soon'

Im so rubbish at this.
Im buying that book tomorrow.

Meerka Mon 07-Oct-13 20:14:34

Keep it at "Oh dear, I hope you're feeling better soon"

You gotta keep in mind that no matter what you do, unless you dance exactly to her turn you are goign to be the evil ones here. If its not this, it will be something else. So, plan how to handle it - and keep talking to your DH.

Polite, non-committal noises of goodwill like "I hope you're better soon" are perhaps the only way to go (if anyone else knows any others, then great!)

Your fil may also end up putting the pressure on, consciously or not. You may well have to keep the same neutral, non-defensive and very calm approach. He's been with her a long time and is probably well under her thumb. Or simply say that you're going out, can he ring back when your DH is there?

Ursula8 Mon 07-Oct-13 21:08:50

Sorry but this is textbook. My own toxic mother gets "cancer" when challenged. I know it seems incredible to us sane folk but it is what they do.
As other posters have said, keep a safe distance. You have a new baby so use it, use it, use it, to be unfortunately unavailable. If you accidentally answer the phone to her, and I suggest you let your answering machine earn it's keep, just say you are very sorry she is ill, and then that you have to go out but you are sure DH will soeak to her soon. Take care, Byeeeeeee. If you don't have caller display, get it pronto.
Do NOT get sucked into thinking you have to get involved in any way in MILS medical diagnosis, care or treatment. It is all a load of crap anyway. You are far too busy with the DC to help out, what a shame. Let DH take the strain of this. If he wants to.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 21:22:21

I dont know why im so shocked. thats if it is a lie, if it true and it amounts to something then we'll see what happens.

Ive told dh to text her saying the above. she apparently messaged at lunch time, he forgot she texted. whoops

PinkParsnips Mon 07-Oct-13 21:49:37

Yep definitely textbook behaviour I'm afraid.

Your MIL sounds so much like mine its scary, since DH has reduced contact my MIL has now developed 'depression' caused by loneliness apparently...her relapses and feelings of being suicidal always coincide with us being busy when she wants to visit funnily enough.

It is very difficult but like others say I'm finding just saying oh dear, thats a shame and changing the subject helps as it doesnt feed the troll, so to speak!
Its just attention seeking after all so don't oblige her.

Walkacrossthesand Mon 07-Oct-13 21:51:36

By the way, blood tests don't show brain chemical levels. Diagnostics would be much simpler if they did! I would be very non-committal about what's going on - people, even non-toxic ones, come out if a doctors room with the most astonishingly garbled stories.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 21:58:34

Yes! I have a feeling she will develop depression, which will be fabulous as when i had didn't matter and there was no changes made for me, no consideration etc.
And she will get the same treatment.

DH texted. She hasnt replied.
im feeling alot more positive.

MommyBird Mon 07-Oct-13 22:01:27

That is probley why i can't find anything on google.
What an absolute ive said it.

Cant believe she would lie about something like that. well. i can. but im still shocked.

Jux Mon 07-Oct-13 22:53:59

Yep, heart, depression, cancer. It's shocking when you're a normal person who would never in a million years say something like that unless it were true, isn't it? It is textbook toxic attention-seeking. Get that book, it'll really help you.

Meerka Tue 08-Oct-13 14:26:09

Oh god, PinkParsnips, threatening suicide for attention? Low. Very low. Very hard to deal with :/

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 06:53:47

2nd Update!

We have messaged. Told her we think its not best not come down for a while..etcetc.

She then messaged back asking why we hate her. we explained we have had enough etc and just to leave it for now, so much had happened, itd not something to talk about text and we can talk about it face to face once we, as a couple have talked more about it.

She then texted back saying she needs to know why we hate her so much after all shes dealing with at the moment.

DH then got pretty ratty, explained that i had PND, had to see a counseller, smoking around dd and making her ill, how that made my pnd worse, not to mention our dd being ill, how she never accepts any responserbility, everything is our fault, never says sorry. that he didnt want to talk about anymore and to leave it for a while and we'll try and sort it all out in a few months..

And then FIL texted..saying how upset MIL is that her only son hates her, that she cant see her grandchildren (havnt seen them in 7 weeks btw) and shes worried about her results from the doctors..

DH then texted back with 'this is why we didnt want to talk about it, we wanted to leave it untill we had discussed it, they never listen, how we have explained how extreme it had got in the last text and its been ignored'

no reply.

How/what do we do now? What will happen next?
How to respond?
Im betting on her being seriously ill.
DH betting a phone call or visit from FIL.

I know we should of kept it really blunt and there was no point in explaining anything as she would'nt listen.
But it feels like we have gotten our point across.



I've just read the entire thread.

Don't respond now, your DP has said it all.
If she didn't like the answers, tough. She pushed for them. Ignore her DH too, he's enabling her bullshit so he's therefore (unwittingly?) on the same team.

What will happen next? She will tell your hairdresser anyone who will listen that you have turned against her while she's dying of some terrible disease. Oh, and that you're obviously not right in your head hmm

Detach, detach, detach.

FiveExclamations Thu 10-Oct-13 07:43:00

Whatever she does next, you could ignore and present a wall of silence, perhaps with one "We've explained our side and what we want to do, there's no point in explaining again." Or you could, as a couple, make a "script" to deal with her.

For example,

You told people I have Bullimia, you know that's not true.

You have lied on other occasions, (pick an example).

You wont compromise on visits. Then blame us for not seeing the children.

You show no respect for our wishes, for example you smoked around our child and have never shown the slightest remorse.

Add more if you need to one, one problem, one example.

The above upsets us, makes it impossible for us to trust you and has affected our health and happiness (or whatever is true). So we don't want to see you for a while.

If she rants, blackmails, denies, keep repeating the script, calmly, but firmly and when you've had enough or feel you are loosing the ability to be calm say something like, "I'm sorry, but we've made ourselves very clear. When we are ready we will make contact and we'll see if we can sort this out together then."

Say the same to your FIL if you need to, but perhaps more gently.

Stay calm however much they jump up and down.

Refuse to engage in text/facebook ping pong.

Either explain same to any friends/family who want to interfere or be nosy or say "sorry, there's a lot going on here that you don't know about and we've had to do what's best for us." Then refuse to be drawn any further.

Your real friends/family worth the title will understand.

FiveExclamations Thu 10-Oct-13 07:47:43

Sorry, forgot to say the really important thing is to stick to the script, don't be dragged into side issues, having a debate over the details and explaining yourself, "sorry, this has nothing to do with these issues/ we've all ready explained, as we said..." and then return to script.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 09:32:53

That's really helpful thank you.
We didn't want to discuss any of it over a text message but she just kept pushing and pushing. When we gave her the answers she wanted she didnt like it, didnt even say sorry or answer the text as she knew we was right.
Then FIL just bought it all back to how bad MIL was. Never even mentioned the previous message.

The only thing she can do is say sorry and accept responserbility if she wants to see us again.
Not holding my breath.


Your DHs parents are following the toxic parent script of behaviours to the letter. Your FILs role in this is one of bystander; he acts out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. Women like his wife always but always need a willing enabler to help them.

You will never receive any sort of apology from them because such toxic people never apologise or accept any responsibility for their actions.

These people do not bring anything positive into your lives anyway; not seeing them would therefore not be a great loss. Also your children deserve decent role models; DHs parents clearly are neither kind or loving either.

Do read the Susan Forward books that have been already recommended to you by other respondents.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 10:40:43

Im waiting for it to be delivered grin

Deep down I know. I know she will never change. This will be her last and only change. atleast we can honestly say 'we tried.'

We was going to cut her off completley, without a doubt. Then i feel sorry for my husband loosing a mom and my kids loosing a set of grand parents...even though they are god awful. I just wish they would change. I never imagined my family to be like this.
Its such a shame.

i just need a good slap Asking for advice has really helped me understand people like her. I know its not us that are being nasty/mean/unreasonable. All we have done is tolerated it for so long and we cant do it anymore.

Walkacrossthesand Thu 10-Oct-13 10:44:49

Well done for you and DH making a stand, Mommybird. Brace yourselves for the fall-out mentioned above - hearing that you've been bad-mouthed, having well-meaning friends/relatives sent round come round to try to talk you round - have responses ready. Oh, and I doubt her non-response to your texts was because she 'knew you were right' - that simply isn't a concept in her mindset, it's more that she dismisses anything that doesn't fit with her world view, and comes at it from a different angle.

You will likely now receive comments from the "winged monkeys" i.e other relatives sent out by PILs to do their bidding. Ignore such people.

If these people are too toxic or difficult for you to deal with, then they are too toxic for your children to have any sort of contact with.

You have yourself likely come from a family unit where this type of familial dysfunction is completely unknown. Its hard to deal with, fortunately for yourself your DH is on board here.

They were and remain not good parents to your DH and they are not good grandparents to your children now. They do not need such poor role models in their lives.


"A percentage of the general population is dysfunctional and/or abusive. That percentage, like everyone else, has children. Then those children grow and have children of their own. The not-so-loving grandparents expect to have a relationship with their grandchildren. The only problem is, they’re not good grandparents.

Many adult children of toxic parents feel torn between their parents’ (and society’s) expectation that grandparents will have access to their grandkids, and their own unfortunate first hand knowledge that their parents are emotionally/physically/sexually abusive, or just plain too difficult to have any kind of healthy relationship with.

The children’s parents may allow the grandparents to begin a relationship with their children, hoping that things will be different this time, that their parents have really changed, and that their children will be emotionally and physically safer than they themselves were.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, because most abusive people have mental disorders of one kind or another, and many of these disorders are lifelong and not highly treatable. (Others are lifelong and treatable; however, many people never seek the necessary help.)

The well-intentioned parent ends up feeling mortified for having done more harm than good by hoping things would somehow be different — instead of having a child who simply never knew their grandparents and who was never mistreated, they have an abused child who is now also being torn apart by the grief involved in having to sever a lifelong relationship with the unhealthy people they are very attached to".

Meerka Thu 10-Oct-13 11:20:00

I'm with Fiveexclamations, Walkacross and Attilla. Keep your distance. Expect nastiness from people she's hoodwinked. Expect no support from your FIL.

I'm afraid it's a shame that you let her bludgeon and pressure you into answering her "why do you hate me" (see how she's twisting no-contact into victimization?). Answering then was on -her- terms and she'll use it more because you were not able to hold your ground. If you can, I'd never let yourselves get drawn into that again. If you choose to meet her or talk to her again, it has to be at a time of your choosing and in your way. Having said that, its clear there is many years' background here, and also it's so difficult to stand firm against an insidious person like this, so overall I think you and your husband are doing really, really well.

Just keep talking to your husband and keep those limits drawn =) ... and plan how to deal with the lies she will put about. Because she will. She has before, she will again, more so now you've stood up to her. It is very very upsetting to hear lies and twisted things from neighbours / family when you have someone spreading sh*t like this. Prepare for it. Maybe speak to your own mother and father and warn them.

Just to say again, I do think you are doing very well to stand up to her.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 11:58:17

Winged Monkeys! grin haha!

I reallly didnt want to explain things over text, we just wanted to leave it at that...but her pushing and pushing just..argh! Its so stressful.
We will remember to not get sucked in. Will it be best to use 'we don't want to discuss it, just leave it' ?
As we really dont want to talk about it! We need space.

My husbsnd just keeps telling me to leave them too it and not to stress. we have explained a few points and there will still no consideration for us. just her.

Any further response from you, even on the lines of, " we don't want to discuss it, just leave it" further sucks you back in. That is something you could possibly say to "normal emotionally healthy" familial relations but never these two. Toxic people do not and never do play by the "normal" rules governing familial relations. FIL will always side with his wife for the reasons I stated. He is also a weak man.

Your H is right re telling you to leave it and not to stress further.
Complete silence from you both is now necessary. You need space away from such toxic people.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 12:13:39

Ignore, Ignore, Ignore is something ive wanted to do for years. so glad i can do it now.
Husband has just sent a soppy text.
Feel alot more positive now. grin

Actually feel in control now.
In my counselling i was given tips on how to be assertive..i should of just posted on mumsnet grin
Thank you thanks

Hopasholic Thu 10-Oct-13 12:21:08

I'd be very interested to know if your Sfil has attended these doctors appointments with her, she's lying to him too. Actually she's right she does have a chemical imbalance going on in her brain. It's called

Do you think that she's gone with 'Bulimia' rather than telling the truth about PND to explain your weightloss to the beautician? Not making excuses as its a very bizarre thing to say but maybe on this occasion she flapped when asked about it and gave it as reason?

I can't believe she's my age shock

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 12:24:15

Also my parents know exactly what she is like. They have seen it. They have helped out a few times regarding her garden and dd1. Never any thank yous.
They have tolerated her for the same reason i have, she is my DH's mom.

They are very happy that we have cut contact my mother is over the moon as they saw how ill it was making me and dh.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 12:29:11

I dont think the PND even came into her head as she never listens. ever. I dont even think she knew (even though we told her) no one else can be ill as it draws the attention away from her. shes ill, we all know it, anyone else..meh.

'she's bulimic, she's just too skinny'
is what was said..or along those lines.
Family friend deffended saying she had known me for years and there was no way i'd have an eating disorder. no comment was made.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 12:45:05

What i dont understand is, i'd not long had my dd2 (she's now 8 weeks) and i was about 10 stone. that isnt bulimic.
I was a size 6 when i fell pregnant with i wasnt even a size 6 when MIL was telling people i was bulimic. i'd just had a baby confused

The bulimic thing was the last straw.

Meerka Thu 10-Oct-13 13:24:20

in practical terms, yeah, what Attilla says. The Meerkat is right! :D No further contact. If she requests it, then decide with DH whether you wish to or not. If you go ahead, then make sure it's in a place of your choosing, at your time of choosing (both time of day and how many weeks ahead), for the length of time that you decide. And be prepared for guilt tripping, tears and anger .. and spitefulness.

So pleased your mother is backing you so much.

Again, /respect for how you're handling this. so so hard to go against the grain and not be polite, not be conciliatory, not to attempt to discuss and sort things out like one would prefer to. It's unpleasant when you have to go against all your training and beliefs to be so firm with someone you'd rather get on with, just for their position in the family fellow feeling.

Meerka Thu 10-Oct-13 13:46:26

Oh, another thought. If she does keep texting then maybe one option is to text back "we don't want to discuss it. Please respect that. Further texts on the subject will be deleted" and then keep it it. Literally delete anything more that comes. Other wiser people may disagree though and think its better to say nothing. They may well be right.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 13:57:19

I think saying nothing is our best option, the more she texts the more upset and hurt we feel so we feel we need to keep defend ourselves and it's like talking to a brick wall.

Deleting the texts and ignoring is best. Nothing we say makes and difference anway.

FiveExclamations Thu 10-Oct-13 15:13:49

I think Attila is right, the whole script thing can work on a rational person and even with an irrational can at least leaving you feeling more in control, but she's right, you're still getting sucked back in. Ignore, ignore, ignore is good.

Also agree with Meerka's one text warning that further will be deleted idea, it shuts down the whole manipulating you by text route.

Jux Thu 10-Oct-13 15:39:15

Ignore. This may sound harsh, but it's like splitting up with an abusive ex who will not leave you alone because that would mean he'd lost and his whole raison d'etre is to win. The only way is not to engage at all. As she is dh's mum, you may have to come up with something else long term, but for the moment you need to concentrate on yourselves and the people who enhance your life, rather than people who will always be troublesome.

Hope the book arrives soon and is helpful.

Phalenopsis Thu 10-Oct-13 16:59:11

Don't know if it has been mentioned already but look up 'narcissistic personality disorder' Mommybird. You'll find that your MIL is a classic example or at least displays many of the traits of one. She won't change, she'll try to twist everything that has happened back on to you and your husband.

Don't engage with her. She'll get off on it.

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 17:33:50

No contact has been made today. so far!
Feel alot more confident today, and less of a doormat.

I will have a look at that now smile thank you!

why is everything so complicated!?

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 17:41:51

Oh fabulous, she's a Toxic Parent who has a Narcissistic personality disorder.
time to buy her a broomstick and a pointy black hat?
I guess going out for coffee and going on shopping trips is never going to happen!

MommyBird Thu 10-Oct-13 22:24:53

Just want to prepare as i know this will be on the script

They usually come down boxing day 3 hours late,.not like we're cooking boxing day dinner or anything

still the same rules? Im guessing they will guilt trip 'we dont get to see dd1 open her presents or be there for dd2 1st christmas'

Jux Fri 11-Oct-13 08:22:09

I know Xmas feels imminent, but things can change pretty quickly. You may be completely no contact by then or you may have come to some sort of uneasy truce.

(Personally, if I were cooking and they were perpetually late I would simply tell them what time you will be eating and eat then. If they haven't got there in time they can have the left-overs cold.)

As for Christmas I would make plans that do not involve them in any shape or form. Your children would get nothing positive from having these two in their lives anyway. These people do not respect you as parents and as such would likely start on you via the children in time (overtly favouring one child over another etc).

It is not your fault they are like this, their own birth families did that lot of damage to them.

Yes, still the same rules. Just keep ignoring and detaching from this toxic twosome. Any contact from you or DH on their part gives them a way in.

BTW if she is narcissistic in terms of personality, I would have to advise you that it is simply not possible to have any sort of relationship with a narcissist. Also they have NO empathy for others.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 11-Oct-13 09:06:51

I think you are doing the right thing, fil sounds like an enabler.

MommyBird Fri 11-Oct-13 09:15:45

Fab! grin

My parents (well mom) cooks Christmas Day and me and my husband cook boxing day to give her a break. (theres me, my dh, mom, dad, my nan and dd 1 and now dd2!)

MIL has never invited us for christmas (not that we'd go, plus we have never invited her) she allways tells us how pointless it is and how she doesn't enjoy it anymore.-scrooge bascially--

Last year, she wanted to come down early, we said 8, she said 7, fair enough.
I was up early on Christmas morning. putting pretend snow down the hall way and making santa's footprints-
so dh said he'd get up at 6, put the Turkey in and boil the kettle and he'd wake dd1 at about 7.
Thank god he didnt. They turn up at 10:30am!
it wasnt their fault they was 3 hours late.
My husband was shattered and pissed off.

Phalenopsis Fri 11-Oct-13 11:34:04

I know many think Christmas is a family time where all the irritations and jealousies of being part of the same family are put to one side, how you all should link arms with a glass of something (meths?) and stand around the tree singing with cherry cheeked children (who've no doubt been standing too close to the fire) and delight in every gift bought and received (not socks again?!?!) but it really doesn't work like that for many and the reason I say this is because we often make such an effort for nothing and feel stressed out and pissed off.

In your case MB, I'd concentrate on your husband and children this Christmas. It'll be hectic enough without Evil Edna and Yes Dear ruining your Christmas. Time to close ranks. She has brought this on herself.

Oh and I think putting fake snow down is a lovely idea.

sofurcough Thu 17-Oct-13 14:44:08

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